197. Memorandum From Richard Pipes of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Clark)1


  • Haig-Gromyko Meeting, June 18–19, 1982

I have now gone over the memcons of Haig’s talks with Gromyko on June 18 and 19, 1982.2 The general impression is one of wasted effort. Gromyko restated in all cases standard Soviet positions and would not budge an inch from them. His tone throughout was condescending, sometimes snide and downright rude. Much of the time he lied through his teeth. While clearly we need to maintain this channel of communications with Moscow, I wonder if it really serves any useful purpose for the Secretary of State to spend so much time with his Soviet counterpart to go over and over well-traversed ground and be subjected to the same verbal humiliation. My recommendation would be for Secretary Shultz, if he proposes to meet Gromyko, to devote initially no more than one morning or afternoon to a preliminary dialogue and continue only if there is some sense of genuine progress. (S)

Basically, the material presented in this memcon duplicates that from the two previous encounters (Haig-Gromyko September 1981 and January 1982) so I will not bother to go into detail. All the familiar themes are here: the United States is belligerent and seeks military superiority, the Russians have no desire to export revolution, we should be friendly to Cuba, the Israelis and we are responsible for all the trouble in the Middle East, and so on and so forth. (S)

On the two issues which you specifically mentioned to me, I have the following to report:

Poland. Gromyko restated the Soviet position that what went on in Poland is a purely internal Polish affair: “no representative of the Soviet Government will discuss this problem with any other country in the world”. Consistent with this viewpoint, Gromyko refused to be drawn into any discussions on the situation in Poland. Nowhere did he promise a lifting of the martial law or linking our relaxation of sanctions with possible Polish reforms.

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Nicaragua. Gromyko complained that we are bullying Nicaragua which has no hostile intentions toward us. The issue of MIGs in Nicaragua never came up: all discussion on this country, as on all other subjects was maintained by the Soviet side on a Himalayan level of platitude. (S)

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Pipes Files, CHRON 07/23/1982–07/26/1982. Secret; Nodis. Sent for information.
  2. See Documents 186 and 187.